HC Deb 27 April 1955 vol 540 cc921-2
30. Mr. Manuel

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies under what authority 600,000 Kikuyu have been moved from their homes in Kenya; and what compensation was paid for the destruction of their 150,000 huts.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The concentration of Kikuyu into villages has been effected by administrative direction through the authority of tribal chiefs and headmen. Most of the people moved voluntarily and, although powers of compulsory removal exist in Emergency Regulations, these have rarely been used. In most cases only short distances are involved and the people concerned continue to farm the same land. Most of the material used in village construction has been salvaged from the old huts and further materials are provided free of charge by Government. The question of compensation does not therefore arise.

Mr. Manuel

Is the Secretary of State aware that what he says is not quite correct? One cannot salvage from a destroyed home when the home is destroyed by fire. He admitted in reply to a Question last week that many of the huts were being destroyed by fire. Can I have an assurance that when huts are destroyed by fire he will provide a suitable replacement for them, as they often represent the total wealth of the native occupier?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

No, Sir. As I have said, most of this work is being carried out with full agreement. If the hon. Gentleman has a chance to visit some of the new villages in Kenya, he will find that not only from the point of view of combating terrorism, but, equally important, from the point of view of a good life in the future and the education and health of the people concerned, the villages provided for the Kikuyu, the Embu and the Meru constitute one of the most hopeful signs for the future.

Mr. Alport

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the revolution which is taking place through the increase in villagisation of the Kikuyu is one of the most important social developments in Africa at the present time? Will he make it clear that no Question such as that asked by the Opposition indicates that we in this House—at least, those who are aware of African conditions—are opposed to the speedy carrying out and prolongation of the revolution?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I am sure that is so.